We're heading off to Whistler shortly for Struan's birthday; what else would a soon to be 9 year old want to do for their birthday!
I've just been gathering all of our ski gear together for the trip, and packing it all up, so thought now would be a good time to put together a packing list. Nothing worse than getting to the ski hill or resort and realising you've left something essential behind.
What do I Need to Pack?
Ski Boots * - be sure to get well fitted boots, they won't feel comfortable as such but shouldn't hurt, as the boys say they are 'ski boot comfy'. Badly fitted boots won't only ruin your day they can cause injury so spend time with your shop or hire store to be sure you have the right fit. We have also had Struan's boots heat fitted as his feet have grown and slightly changed size, but not enough for a new pair of boots so if your older boots start to pinch it is definitely worth doing. It didn't even cost us anything!
* If you are travelling by air, or new to skiing you may want to rent this equipment at the resort.
Helmet - many resorts now (quite rightly) insist on helmets for kids, but with Sarah and I having a couple of accidents over the years, I think you'd be mad not to wear a properly fitting ski helmet. The picture below was taken shortly after an accident while wearing a helmet, it could have been so much worse without one.
Goggles - a well fitted pair of goggles makes a huge difference, skiing blind is not fun! Sarah struggles with goggles and opted for a helmet with a built-in visor but this proved problematic in very rainy or snowy conditions when the inside got wet. We are yet to hit on the ideal goggles for Sarah but if we find that elusive beast we will be sure to let you know!
Backpack - not essential, but really handy for carrying extra layers, snacks for the kids, water etc. I'd recommend a waterproof bag if possible - we really like our Seal Line Skylake Dry Backpack (and not just for skiing).
Ski socks - a decent pair of ski socks won't wrinkle up in your boots, and will keep your feet warm and comfortable. Avoid cotton!
Base layers - thermal base layers are one of the most important items of ski clothing. We're massive fans of merino wool for base layers; they're warm, comfortable, and naturally odour resistant! Icebreaker make a great range of thermals in various weights, and I'm a massive fan of my new BN3TH full length merino bottoms. (Use the link above for $15 off your first purchase.)
Mid layer - depending on where and when you are skiing, and the weather on the day, you may need more or less mid-layers. Quite often Innes and I don't bother with a mid layer, but Struan and Sarah almost always do. An extra thermal, fleece or hoodie, will work just fine. Like most outdoor activities, layering is key; so that you can add or remove layers as necessary. This is where that backpack comes in handy!
Outer Layers - Ski pants (trousers) / Salopettes / Bibs and a Ski Jacket; waterproof and breathable are the keys here. Outer layers designed for skiing also tend to be insulated for extra warmth. We're big Spyder fans, and although they're pretty pricey, they are really well made and long lasting. Their kid's range even has a 'grow with me' feature, which allows the cuffs and hems to be dropped as the kids grow.
Neck Warmer / Scarf / Buff - these contribute a lot more to keeping you warm than you would think; keeping the cold air from getting down your neck and also stopping snow from entering your jacket if you do take a head plant! We tend to use thinner Buffs on most days (which you can use in loads of different ways) and a thicker balaclava type when it's really cold.
Gloves - I recommend two pairs of gloves, a thin inner pair for warmth and a waterproof outerlayer.
There a few other bits and bobs that aren't essential, but can make life easier (or more fun), so we think they're worth adding to your ski trip packing list.
RUX - we love our RUXs, they're perfect for carrying all of this kit!
Go Pro - if you don't have video for your favourite social site did your ski trip even happen?
Radios - we find our Rocky Talkies to be invaluable for keeping in touch on the mountain without digging around in your pockets for your phone. We generally give one to Struan, so when he bombs off without us we can find him again!
Re-usable Water Bottle - we're all about reducing unnecessary plastic waste and if you've read any of our other posts, you'll know it has to be Yeti!
Flask - the boys love a hot chocolate to warm up, but often they come in giant servings, pop any left overs in the Yeti for later! Also handy for your morning coffee fix while waiting in the ski lift queue.
Toe / Hand Warmers - sometimes these are necessary, especially if you are 'skiing the East', like we used to when we lived in Ottawa.
Carry Straps - the boys got these straps for Christmas from Sarah's cousin, you wouldn't believe the number of arguments they have saved about the boys carrying their own skis. Highly recommended, in fact i'm not sure why we don't have them too!
GoggleSoc - ski goggles can be expensive, protect your lenses from scratches with these great covers made from recycled bottles. They also look cool.
Canadian ski resorts are pretty relaxed, so you don't need much in the way of special clothing, you may just stay in your ski gear! There are a few items worth adding to the list though.
Snow Boots - you probably won't want to wear your ski boots all day, so a warm pair of boots are great for heading down to the local bar or restaurant.
Toque (Hat) - a warm hat is handy for the evenings, although you can just re-purpose your Buff.
Sun Glasses (and Sunny Soc) - if you're partaking in some lunchtime or early afternoon apres, you may not want to wear your googles, but it can be bright on those patios!
Swim shorts / suit - if you're lucky enough to have a pool or hot tub for some apres ski relaxing.